Whistleblower Legislation

On January 30, 2019, Reps. Don Young (R-AK) and John Garamendi (D-CA) introduced the Wildlife Conservation and Anti-Trafficking Act of 2019 (H.R. 864). This bipartisan, groundbreaking legislation enhances the ability of informants worldwide to detect and report wildlife crimes. It also strengthens the laws criminalizing trafficking.

In a joint press release, both representatives recognized the importance of halting poachers, traffickers, and transnational criminal organizations—all of which are responsible for exacerbating the global extinction crisis. Furthermore, as Congressman Garamendi points out, “Our bipartisan bill advances American leadership in tackling the global wildlife trafficking and poaching crisis at no cost to the American taxpayer.” Continue Reading Landmark Bill Combating Wildlife Trafficking Reintroduced in the House

If poachers and wildlife trafficking networks operate like international criminal syndicates, why not treat them that way? That’s one approach outlined in a bill reintroduced in Congress today designed to bolster efforts to use whistleblower rewards to stop wildlife crime. 

The bill aims to address problems with existing wildlife whistleblower programs that were identified in May by the Government Accountability Office (GAO). It expands on existing whistleblower provisions and calls for new rules and the authority to enforce them.

The Wildlife Conservation and Anti-Trafficking Act was reintroduced by Republican Rep. Don Young of Alaska – who calls himself an avid sportsman — and California Democrat John Garamendi, who describes himself a conservationist and outdoorsman.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration “NOAA) each currently have the option to reward whistleblowers who expose poaching, trafficking and other wildlife crimes. But, the 2018 GAO audit found that agencies’ programs are underused and inefficiently implemented.

The Wildlife Conservation and Anti-Trafficking Act would give more muscle to existing programs. The bill also would require that penalties and fine from prosecutions be redistributed to wildlife conservation efforts.

Continue Reading Bill would bolster reward programs that allow US agencies to fight wildlife crime with whistleblowers

Good news for Pennsylvania whistleblowers
Pennsylvania Supreme Court rules whistleblowers eligible to receive noneconomic compensation as rewards.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued a big decision for whistleblowers in Bailets v. Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, 2018 WL 1516785 (Pa. 2018). The Court ruled that noneconomic damages are compensable under Pennsylvania’s whistleblower law.

Ralph Bailets was a former Manager of Financial Systems and Reporting with the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission. During his tenure, he became concerned about the government contractor Ciber Inc., which was politically-connected to leaders of the Commission. When competing for one infrastructure project, Ciber offered the most expensive bid, yet still was chosen for the contract. As Ciber struggled to perform the contract, Bailets took the issue to his supervisor. Bailet’s supervisor initially warned him that Ciber had friends in high places, and later advised colleagues that Bailet “should be kept on a short lease.” He was fired shortly thereafter.

Continue Reading Good News for Pennsylvania Whistleblowers

“Defend Trade Secrets Act” Signed into Law

Washington, D.C. May 11, 2016. Today, President Obama signed into law the Defend Trade Secrets Act, which includes major whistleblower reforms.

The Act contains strong and much needed protections for corporate whistleblowers, establishing immunity for employees who disclose trade secrets to the government as part of a whistleblower case. The Act sets forth clear procedures employees can follow to obtain this immunity, and requires all employers to notify their employees of these rights. Continue Reading Obama Strengthens Key Corporate Whistleblower Protections

Washington, D.C. On April 27, 2016 Congress passed the Defend Trade Secrets Act, a bill supported by the White House and for which President Obama is expected to sign shortly. The bill included a whistleblower protection amendment, offered by Senators Leahy and Grassley. Continue Reading Whistleblowers Win Big in the Defend Trade Secrets Act